Rio Tinto and aluminium producer Chinalco are in talks regarding a joint investment in Mongolia for the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold project.

According to Australian paper The Age, Oyu Tolgoi, situated 80km from the China-Mongolia border, is one of the largest untapped gold and copper mines in the world.

Canadian mining company Ivanhoe Mines, of which Rio Tinto owns 19.7%, holds a 66% interest in the mine.

Under an agreement between Ivanhoe and the Mongolian Government, Oyu Tolgoi will receive an investment of $4.5bn.

The mine is predicted to commence production by 2013.

In the first ten years of production, Oyu Tolgoi is expected to annually generate 450,000t of copper and 14.18t of gold.

According to the 21st Century Business Herald, Chinalco has been keeping an eye on the development of the Oyu Tolgoi project and will discuss potential collaborations for its infrastructure construction, financing and marketing.